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Street food in Rome

I'd love recommendations for street food in Rome. Cheap, tasty, fresh and not for tourists. Could be from a market or grocery, too. Where do locals eats who don't have enough money for a sit down dinner?

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  1. pizza bianca at the Forno Campo de' Fiori. walk around the outdoor market while you are chewing this fabulous flatbread dressed with olive oil and seasoned with just the right amount of sea salt. this is not a tourist-free zone but that's simply a fact of life in rome.

    deb and i take an apartment off the campo de' fiori in the spring and visit the market every day for fresh produce. it's a pleasure living "on the economy."

    2 Replies
    1. re: steve h.

      I want to be you and Deb. I am heading there on Thursday and will be at the Campo de' Fiori on Saturday morning. Any tips on what to look out for in addition to the pizza bianca? Got a great CH tip for porchetta sandwich.

      1. re: EATTV

        the outdoor market is quite a show. cruise the stalls and load up on fruits/whatever looks good and then walk through the piazza farnese to the via giulia. stroll the via giulia as if you live there (one of the nicest residential streets in rome). have your porchetta sandwich when you wander back to the campo (or the cured meat platter with a chilled tocai). either way, sit outside under the umbrellas because the city is mighty warm this time of year.

    2. When visiting San Giovanni in Laterano, we crossed the large square (multiple bus stops on several sides of the square) on the side of San Giovanni to go to Cannavota restaurant. They were hosting a large party and could not accoomodate others, so we were out of luck for lunch there. But right next to that restaurant is a small grocery store/bakery which offers a wide variety of pizas and focaccia at very reasonable prices. They will heat them up for you if you wish. The one I liked best was a pizza with fresh mixed greens (not cooked). The assortment changes rapidly. There were even some small plastic tables and chairs (not many) for those who want to eat inside. Their soft drinks were among the least expensive we found in Rome. Three of us ate and drank a nice lunch for about 12 euros.
      Also in the Piazza Santa Maria Maggiori is a department store on one corner of the square which has a supermarket in the basement. They offer hot and cold dishes much as any deli would: meats, cheeses, focaccia, pizzas, etc. and their prices for bottled wines are very good. We ate some delicious porchetta from there last December.

      1. Locals will very rarely seek an alternative to a sit-down dinner and those wishing to eat cheaply can stay home, so that's not really your question. The standard alternative to an expensive sit-down dinner is a sit-down pizza or your local trattoria. Anything else, especially within striking distance of Campo de' Fiori, is likely to be aimed at tourists or internationalized young people. But that is in the evening. During the day there are many alternatives to restaurant lunches. To avoid the specifically tourist stuff, do not buy anything from a truck/van or street stall except within a market and don't go to bars that look at major monuments, or if you do (some of them are actually good), stand at the bar, don't sit at a table. Pizza al taglio is a favorite cheap food, which it is acceptable to walk around with. Likewise gelato. Otherwise people sit or stand in one place to eat. Bars have a range of sandwiches and some have a tavola calda, i.e., hot food served more or less cafeteria style. You can always buy food in shops, markets, and supermarkets, or ask to have sandwiches prepared (usually quite rudimentary panini with salami, mortadella, prosciutto, or cheese) in the shop. There are plenty of parks where you can go to eat your little picnic.

        1. Pizza Florida, which is across the street from the where all the stray cats are (I think it's Torre Argentina) is the best Pizza a Taglio we found. Lots of varieties.

          3 Replies
          1. re: vvv03

            Yes, it's on Largo Argentina at the corner of via Florida, and you're absolutely right. It's very, very good.

            1. re: vvv03

              Note: Pizza Florida is closed on Sundays

              1. re: vvv03

                yummm I lived down the street on Via Arenula for four months last spring and frequented Pizza Florida all the time! I loved the variety...also good and in the same neighborhood is Pizza Art, popular with the locals. Just head towards Via Arenula (the street with the tram) and cross over to the other side. Walk towards the river and it will be on your right before the river (at least a block or two before, if memory serves me right). Enjoy!

              2. General Question: There is no equivalent to the Paris street crepe in Rome?


                3 Replies
                1. re: Chinon00

                  Unlike Naples, say, Rome is really not a street food town. There are relatively few places where one sees people standing up and walking around eating, with the exception of gelati, roasted chestnuts and the only other place I really remember people eating this way, the Forno, mentioned above.

                  1. re: jen kalb

                    I would agree with this- except if it gets colder, throw in the nutella crepes. People do eat standing up, but it's usually inside the tavola calda, as far as I can tell. There's a place called mondo arancini for example just outside the Piazza del Popolo with no chairs, but a massive menu of delectable fried rice balls and plenty of counters. Piazza a taglio and sometimes tramezzini get the portable treatment but it's still not as common.

                  2. Not exactly on point but I spent New Year’s Eve in Rome this year with my wife. We spent last year’s New Year’s in Paris. And overall, good food was much easier to come by in Paris than in Rome we thought. We did find outstanding food in Italy but it was always a function of having done our homework (i.e. going to restaurants that we’d looked up online or found in our travel guide). Otherwise the meals we had on the fly in Rome were very average. OTOH in Paris any corner bistro for example provided us with just what we expected (Note: The wife and I are fans of both French and Italian cooking).
                    Our theory is that Rome is so touristy (i.e Trevi Fountain was mobbed at 11PM on a weekday with people from every corner of the globe) that the restaurants in the tourist driven areas (which appears to be a chunk of Rome) don’t need to try too hard to make an absolute mint. We did have outstanding food in across the Tiber in Trastevere and found some cool bars there too.
                    Overall we loved both Paris and Rome but again in Paris it is much easier to find good cuisine.

                    1. If you want to find really good, cheap meals in Rome, here are my recommendations.

                      1) You can't do any better than Ciao Autogrille on the mezzanine of Stazione Termini. I know you're all laughing, but I'm serious! I go to Rome twice a year on a secretary's salary, so I have no choice but to do it on a shoestring. C. A. is set up cafeteria style . . . you pick up your tray, napkins and eating utensils & go through the line. First is the salad bar with beautiful insalata caprese, marinated sardines, assorted cheeses, etc. Nice quality & all priced at 3 or 4 euros each. Then there's a counter that has a steam table with grilled meats like beef or chicken (surprisingly good for about 4 euros per entree), but the piece de resistance is the freshly cooked pasta bar. I kid you not . . . for about 4 euros you can have your choice of 2 daily pastas cooked right in front of you, al dente. I usually get an order of pasta, a small insalata and a bottle of aqua minerale. My meal runs me about 7 euros and there's a bonus: the Termini mezzanine is simply the best people-watching spot anywhere in Rome. You can sit in this magnificent public train terminal for as long as you want and see the world pass by.

                      2) I have 2 favorite pizza a taglio places: Pizzeria Leonina at Via Leonina, 84 in the old suburra neighborhood of Monti. A few etti of the most fantastic pizza with a Coke--4 or 5 euros max. There's another little joint I love, but couldn't to save my life tell you the name of it. And I call it a "joint" with much affection. It's located on Via Arenula next to a 24-hour farmacia (another good place to know about) about 2 blocks from the Ponte Mazzini. You can't miss it--it's the only pizza a taglio on Arenula. Almost, but not quite as crisply divine as Leonina, but a far better selection from anchovy to zucchini.

                      3) Picnics cobbled together at street markets. There's a particularly good one on Via Cesare Balbo every morning. I pick up bread, olives, a hunk of cheese, water, some prosciutto cotto (don't like the crudo) and a peach or a pear and head for the Giardino Aldobrandini. It's a secret garden right in the middle of the city with great views all the way to the Gianicolo. Hop on the #40 bus on Via Nazionale and get off just before the traffic circle at the intersection Via XXIV Maggio. Cross over to Via Mazzarino and walk up the stone staircase immediately to your right. You'll find a lovely little oasis with palms, orange trees and a sweet little fountain. Sit on a bench and eat lunch there. :-)

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: coffeesque

                        You just made me homesick for Rome (not my home, but still I'm homesick.) Thanks for a terrific post!

                        1. re: coffeesque

                          I had lunch yesterday at that "joint." It was on Arendula; however, it is near the Ponte Garibaldi, not Mazzini. It is called Pizza Art, and it was delectable. I ordered multiple thin strips of pizza (which they snip to whatever size you wish) and therefore was able to graze my way through about half a dozen varieties.

                        2. Pizzarium near the Cipro Metro stop - off Via Cipro is awesome take away pizza if you are near the Vatican museums.

                          Planet Kebab in Trastevere Via N Del Grande 17